All addictions, whether alcohol, drugs, gambling, food or pornography, start when the drug of choice is used as a crutch to combat feelings of anxiety, low self- esteem, boredom, loneliness and/or anger. There is not a sharp line that defines addiction - it is a process which happens over time. It can happen with an initial exposure or gradually over many months, or even years. Most addictions escalate, which means that, over time, more and more of the drug of choice is needed.
Here are some signs of pornography addiction. Any of these things indicate a serious problem and possible addiction. More than three of these things indicate probable addiction.
1. An inability to stop the behavior(s) and porn use despite previous attempts to do so
Do you feel like you are no longer the one in charge - the compulsion is stronger than your will power?
2. Anger or irritability if asked to stop
Would you feel defensive or angry if you were asked to decrease or quit your porn use?
3. Hiding all or a portion of porn use
Do you live a double or secret live related to your porn use? Do you justify and rationalize your pornography use?
4. Continuing the behavior despite obvious consequences, such as a relationship or job loss
How hard would it be to give up porn if a job, marriage, relationship, or friendship were in jeopardy?
5. Getting lost while using porn (i.e., spending more time than intended, losing track of time). How often do you totally lose track of time when viewing porn? How often to you spend more time than you intended? (Once I start, I just want to go on and on.)
6. Pornography consumes thoughts - constant fantasies about it
Is your pornography use a high priority in your life?
7. Significant emotional distance from those around you and an inability to be emotionally intimate in real-life relationships. Emotionally, are you more attached to the fantasy world of porn than the challenging world around you? Would you rather look at porn than be with friends or family?
8. Having to look at more and more pornography for the same thrill you used to get
Are you looking at things and doing things which you used to think you'd never do?
9. Using porn as a way to cope with life stresses
Do you turn to porn as a way to cope with stress, anger, loneliness, boredom, or feelings of low self-esteem?
10. Rough or demanding when you engage in sex or are emotionally distant during sex. Are you critical of your partner's appearance, implying they aren't sexy enough. Are you fundamentally angry or frustrated with relationships, sex and intimacy in the 'real world'? Is the world or porn where you're most comfortable?